The Earth’s axis has shifted due to extraction of underground water

Scientists warn that the Earth’s rotation axis has shifted by 80 cm due to the extraction of water from beneath the ground. Climatologists are concerned that this could cause climate changes that will affect everyone.

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The Earth’s Axis. Source:

The Earth’s Axis Has Shifted

In a recently published study, scientists claim that from 1993 to 2010, the Earth’s rotation axis has shifted due to the extraction of groundwater to the surface. During this time, humanity has consumed 2,150 billion tons of water for its needs, resulting in the formation of cavities beneath the surface and a significant redistribution of mass.

Since 2016, scientists have known that various human activities on the planet’s surface can affect its rotation. This refers not to the magnetic poles, which shift for natural and somewhat unclear reasons, but rather the displacement of the imaginary axis around which the Earth rotates.

These changes have been monitored since the 19th century. It is known that in recent decades, the geographic pole has been shifting several meters per year. The main causes are continental drift, melting glaciers, dam construction, and other factors. However, observations did not align with model predictions.

Water Extraction

Everything fell into place when scientists took into account the impact of water extraction from beneath the ground. The mentioned figure can be misleading, as it may seem that humans do not extract a significant amount of water. In reality, this volume would be sufficient to raise the sea level by 6 mm.

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Shift of the Earth’s Axis due to various factors. Source:

“The Earth’s rotation pole actually changes very frequently,” said Ki-Weon Seo, a geophysicist from Seoul National University who led the study. “Our work shows that among the climate-related causes, the redistribution of groundwater actually has the greatest impact on the drift of the rotation pole.”

The shift itself is extremely small and not perceivable by humans. However, scientists fear that the change in the angle of solar radiation caused by this shift could interact with other factors. In such a case, it could lead to climate changes that will be felt by everyone.

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